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Tessa Sanderson MBE OBE CBE

Tessa Sanderson

Book Tessa Sanderson

  • 6 Times Olympian
  • Olympic Gold Medalist – 1984
  • 3 Times Commonwealth Gold Medalist – 1978, 1986 and 1990
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About Tessa Sanderson

On the 6th August 1984 at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Tessa Sanderson won the Gold in the Womens Javelin and remains today the only British Woman to ever win a throwing Gold Medal.

Tessa competed in SIX Olympic Games from 1976 to 1996, and in addition to the Olympic Gold, won three Commonwealth Golds and a World Cup Gold in Cuba in 1990. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and competing in her 5th Olympics she finished an incredible 4th place in the final.

In March 2004 New Years Honours list Tessa Sanderson was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her services to sport and Vice Chairman of Sport England the leading strategic organisation for sport in England. Prior to the CBE she was the recipient of an OBE in December 1997 for her work with various charities and in 1985 was awarded the MBE for winning her Olympic Gold Medal for Great Britain in Los Angeles. In October 2004 Tessa was awarded the Sunday Times Life Time Achievement Award for her dedication to sport.

Tessa holds two Honorary Fellowship Degree one from South Bank University in London in 2004, and prior to this Wolverhampton Polytechnic. She also has an honorary Masters Degree from Birmingham University.

During her 26 years competing for Great Britain Tessa was voted Sports Personality of the Year and Athlete of the Year (3 times)  by the Athletics Writers Association. In 1988 Tessa presented the Sports News for 2 ½ years for Sky Television. Her media career involved television presenting for BBC, ITV, Bloomberg, GMTV, where she covered the 1996 Olympics from Atlanta. Other media activities involve working with Talk Sport Radio and other network radio stations in the UK. Tessa was involved with Talksport again during the 2008 Olympic Games and hosted Smile Jamaica during the 2012 Games for two weeks.

Tessa has taken part in the BBC Show “Strictly African Dancing” and “Dancing on Ice: Goes Gold”, “Cash in the Attic”, “Pointless”, “Mr & Mrs” and has guest appeared on The Wright Stuff and Alan Titchmarsh Show

In 2009 Tessa took part in “WIFE SWAP” with Ron Atkinson former football manager.  That particular show on that evening recorded the highest viewing of the whole series with over 2.9 million viewers and was repeated 9 nine times during the year.

Having retired from competitive athletics in 1997, Tessa still remains the only female athlete to win an Olympic throwing medal for Great Britain. Tessa continues to work with various was patron to Jamaica Basic Schools a Charity for Underprivileged children in Jamaica. More recently in 2016 she became the patron of Adoption UK having adopted twins herself.

Still involved in sport, initially with the Newham Sports Academy and now with the Tessa Sanderson Sports Foundation & Academy, Tessa is based in the home of the 2012 Olympic Games, Newham.

Her academy was set up to find new talent and train under experiences coaches for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games but it has continued beyond that with some of her athletes taking part in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

In 2012 Tessa was asked to be Special Guest of Honour and speaker in Jamaica at the RJR Jamaica National Television Sports Awards attended by Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell and many more of the best in sports from Jamaica.  Following this Tessa was asked to present SMILE JAMAICA the Caribbean most watched breakfast show with Jamaica best Dahlia Harris.

Tessa organised the first 10K road run to run through the Olympic Park offering the community and other visitors to Newham the Host Borough of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games a fantastic birds eye view of what would be the Olympic 2012 athletics stadium and continued the initiative with weekend runs through West Ham Park in the East End of London.

Tessa was also a former Board member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company chaired by Baroness Margaret Ford to oversee and help with the formation of the Olympic Park for the Newham community and people living in the East End of London.

Honours Awarded


2016 TV Appearances

  • Victoria Darbyshire magazine show 3 appearances
  • This morning with Philip and Holly
  • Celebrity Pointless
  • Celebrity Mr&Mrs  (ITV)
  • BBC radio 5 live
  • The Venessa Radio Show

Press and magazines

  • Daily Express
  • Times newspaper (money profile)
  • The Voice Newspaper
  • The Mail special feature on adoption
  • Vichy cosmetics radio and press campaign for 6 months


  • TSFA  (my Foundation)
  • supporter of many charity
  • Such as-
  • Little Princess (cancer in little girls and donated funds to buy wigs for them)
  • SHAPE – Domestic violence against women in the household to get them back out into the workplace
  • Patron – Adoption UK
  • Patron – LRT learning Revolution Trust to offer young people an opportunity to get the education they need and to get work-ready.
  • 6 Consecutive Olympics 1976 -1996
  • Olympic gold Javelin 1984
  • 3 times Commonwealth gold
  • European silver
  • World Cup gold


Brilliant…absolutely brilliant…. she was wonderfulSchool for Entrepreneurs Graduation

Tessa, as expected, was absolutely charming and I hope she felt she received a warm welcome.  She was very patient as we ran over time but spoke to everyone. Bromley Healthcare – Sept 2014

Tessa was a fantastic guest speaker. Quite apart from giving a wonderful (and perfectly judged) speech, she took time to speak to every child getting a prize and was most generous with her time and her comments after the ceremonies, despite a busy schedule. – DUKE OF KENT SCHOOL 2014

The evening was a huge success, due in no small part to the contribution of Tessa. Her speech at the beginning of the event was both informative and inspirational and struck exactly the right tone for the evening.  At the end of the event, having presented all the awards, she gave freely of her time to talk and have photos taken with  students , parents, et al, displaying her medals (which everyone wanted to see) and clearly had time for anyone who wished to speak with her. – JAMES HORNSBY SCHOOL

Tessa was brilliant last week, I had a letter from the CEO of Energise plus and said they were very impressed with her and how lovely she was and photos/autographs were not a problem either. – ENERGISE

 The event went really well thank you. Tessa was extremely approachable and had queues of people wanting a photograph with her. Tessa was extremely flexible when the timeframes moved back slightly and had a wonderful relaxed style. We really appreciated the time she took to come along so please pass on our thanks to Tessa and also to your teams whose support has all been great. Thank you.” – VISA

“Everything went very well. Tessa was great, very up-beat and really got the message out. She was excellent….” – Glaucoma Awareness

“Everything went wonderfully this afternoon – Tessa was a great panellist and was very thought provoking and informative” – Goldman Sachs

“Staff and students have been very complimentary stating that Tessa was a “real” person with no aires and graces and was willing to spend time with the showing a genuine interest in their sons / daughters and in the Academy generally. It was definitely a good move” Leigh Technology Academy

“All went well thanks. Tessa did a great job and the audience really enjoyed her” – Foundation Housing

“I just wanted to say that Tessa was truly inspirational and everyone was truly overwhelmed by her talk.  She lived up to our expectations and more, so if you could please pass on our personal thanks I would be very grateful.” – Chwarae Teg International Womens Day

“Tessa was brilliant. She arrived early. She took time to talk to people and posed for pictures with children. I would definitely use her again if I had the opportunity and would recommend her to people.” – Health Communities Team

“Everything went very well with Tessa Sanderson. She gave a very good speech that everyone enjoyed and there was a good question and answer session afterwards with some serious and some funny questions. Tessa also stayed to meet people afterwards and have a chat with them which was very much appreciated. We were very glad she could come along.” – GreenwichCollege

“A huge thank you for putting us in touch with Tessa Sanderson, her speech was really inspirational, what a lovely lady, we had a great time and it was a very successful evening” – George Green School

“Tessa was great last night – such a good speaker and it’s so lovely how her bubbly personality came through throughout. Tessa’s passion, energy and personality really shone through. Her story of courage and ‘having no fear’ contained many messages that we could all relate to”. BP

“Tessa was amazing , the audience were enthralled by her speech and then she linked it well into our own awards evening.  She was happy to meet and greet, and have her picture taken with not only the Overall winners but also with the youngsters that were there – and if that wasn’t enough she had brought her Olympic gold with her.”

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